NEW DELHI: The demand to stop the commercialisation of GM mustard got stronger with nearly 120 scientists writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the processing of the GM mustard environmental release application.
In a letter to Modi and Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, they raised strong objections against and deep concerns with regard to the secretive and hurried manner in which the processing was taking place.
The Environment Ministry’s Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is scheduled to meet on Friday to take a final call on GM mustard commercialisation in India. Farmers’ groups have also opposed the move.
The group said that the current processes undertaken by the regulators were defying Supreme Court and Central Information Commission Orders in terms of transparency and independence of regulation and warned the government that this would only erode society’s confidence in regulators as well as in scientific establishment.
“Proceeding forward in this hurried and secretive fashion, when there are many pending issues related to GM crops and their regulation in India, including examination of the entire biosafety assessment regime and its ability to actually protect India’s environment and citizens’ health from the risks of modern biotechnology, reeks of sinister motives that don’t favour ordinary citizens’ interests,” said the letter signed by 118 scientists.
The GM Mustard hybrid, DMH11 developed by the CGCMP of Delhi University, has been a matter of concern from the beginning. “It is a crop that already has non-GM hybrids available for farmers, and has in the recent past been shown to yield impressively under agro-ecological approaches. Therefore, the very transgenic modification of this crop should have been rejected by the regulators,” the letter said.
The scientists further demanded that all data related to biosafety be put in the public domain for scrutiny.